Is a Tent Footprint Worth It? – Appalachian Mountain Club
Yes and no, but the majority of the time no. It is important to use a tent footprint to protect the underside of the tent from damage and moisture. This will assist to extend the life of the tent and make it drier on the inside. Footprints are precisely tailored to the shape of the tent, reducing the quantity of fabric necessary for complete coverage. They are also equipped with corner grommets to hold it to the tent frame, ensuring that the footprint is appropriately positioned below the tent.
When is it worthwhile to have a tent footprint?
- If you want to camp on rugged, rocky terrain with a high likelihood of sharp points and rough edges, leaving a footprint is often a good idea. There is also worry about areas where there is a lot of felled timber and the possibility of sharp branches. If you camp and/or backpack frequently (think dozens of nights per year), and you want your tent to be as durable as possible years down the road, a footprint is definitely something to consider. As long as you’re not concerned about a little more weight and bulk with your tent when vehicle camping, adding an additional footprint to your tent has little drawbacks other than the expense of acquiring it.
When does it become unprofitable?
- Whenever you’d prefer not to have the extra weight and girth on your back. By eliminating the tent footprint, you may save a significant amount of weight in your pack. Personally, I rarely carry a tent footprint and have spent many, many nights in several of my tents that did not have a footprint on them. There has been little to no serious damage to the tent undersides (and any tiny tears or punctures have been easily repaired using Tenacious Tape), and the lack of further moisture protection has been a minor nuisance at most.
When is the best time to purchase one?
- It is essential to purchase a footprint at the same time you purchase your tent, or at the very least during the same season. Why? Because even if you only use your footprint on an irregular trip-by-trip basis, you should acquire one at the same time you purchase your tent. Many tent models come and go in a short period of time. Manufacturers are also continually changing and tweaking the proportions of recurrent models (as well as the footprints that accompany them) from year to year. As time passes, the likelihood of discovering a precise footprint to match an earlier tent diminishes fast.
Matt HeidWorking as a Freelancer AMC’s gear expert is blogger Matt Heid, who is well-equipped: He adores his gear, and he enjoys putting it to use in the field. His research on many guidebooks, including AMC’s Best Backpacking in New England, has taken him across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness areas, logging thousands of kilometers on foot. He also enjoys cycling, climbing, and surfing.
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6 Reasons You Need To Buy A Tent Footprint
It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a tent for £150 or £1500; a tent footprint may save you time and work while, more crucially, protecting a key section of your tent from damage. The inexpensive cost of this attachment, which ranges from £10 and upwards, making it an absolute must-have to purchase with your tent or to use with an existing tent you already possess. First and foremost, it could be worthwhile for us to go over the fundamentals.
What is a tent footprint?
Do you have a clear understanding of what a tent footprint is? Most of the time, you can tell what a tent footprint is by looking at it, but in case you’re unclear, it’s a groundsheet-like piece of cloth that rests between your tent and the ground. Depending on the size of your tent, it is available in a variety of sizes. It is pinned down in the corners and is the first item you should take care of while assembling your tent. Here are six compelling reasons why you should invest in a tent footprint:
1. Prolong the life of your tent
Due to the fact that 90 percent of tents are now constructed with a sewn-in groundsheet, purchasing a footprint has become even more important. Take precautions to keep your brand new tent secure from abrasion or cuts caused by loose stones and twigs – think of it like purchasing a screen protector or cover for your brand new phone – it’s better to be safe than sorry! Accidents may happen while camping even with the finest intentions and utmost care in the world – therefore it’s worth you in the long run to build your tent with as much safety as possible from the start.
2. Add extra warmth
Incorporating a footprint beneath your tent will add another layer, somewhat elevating you off the ground and reducing the amount of heat that escapes to the ground. When people go camping, they grossly underestimate how much body heat may be lost in this manner, which is a severe mistake.
This, in conjunction with a goodsleeping matorair bed, will give an excellent foundation for a restful night’s sleep. When you’re camping, the majority of your heat is lost to the ground, thus leaving a footprint can assist keep you warm and comfortable.
3. Add extra waterproofing
Layers of protection are twice as effective as one layer. A second layer of waterproofing can not only provide you with peace of mind, but it can also help to safeguard your investment by preventing water damage. Your brand new tent is an investment, and you’ll want to make sure that it remains in the best possible condition for as long as possible after you’ve purchased it.
4. Easier, simplified pitching
You’ll have a clear picture of where your tent is going to be placed, where it will fit, and where to begin pegging from the start because most footprints are custom-made and particular to the contour of your tent’s outline. When it comes to actually pitching your tent, you will save valuable time and have less problems as a result of this.
5. Packing away is less hassle
It’s certain that the camping grounds will be wet during your stay (as is often the case in the United Kingdom), and when it comes time to pack up your tent, you will find that the sewn-in groundsheet of your tent will get quite wet and muddy – hardly the most pleasant of farewell presents. The footprint is something that will prevent the most of this from happening and will keep your tent reasonably dry and clean, which means there will be a lot less work to do once you get home.
6. Tailor-made to suit your tent
In most circumstances, footprints will be particular to a tent type (or in some cases, footprints will fit more than one model) and will be slightly smaller than the floorplan in order to avoid any water from collecting between the sewn-ingroundsheet and the footprint. This’made-to-measure’ approach makes finding the correct footprint for your tent a cinch thanks to its flexibility.
Do I need a tent footprint?
Hopefully, we’ve provided you with six compelling arguments for why you should invest in a tent footprint. Our recommendation is that you use a footprint or groundsheet, just like you would with your man ropes, but ultimately it comes down to personal opinion. Although a footprint may seem unnecessary to a seasoned camper who has never used one, it can be extremely useful if you’ve ever suffered a tear in the bottom of your tent, struggle with water seeping in from beneath your tent, or simply despise packing away a muddy tent; in these cases, a footprint can be extremely beneficial.
- Interested in learning more about tent footprints?
- The following are some more questions that you may have: What should the footprint of a tent be in terms of size?
- This is done in order to prevent water from collecting between the footprint and your tent, which would completely contradict the purpose of the footprint!
- What is the composition of a tent footprint?
- However, you’ll discover that the majority of them are constructed of polyethylene, which is both sturdy and easy to clean.
- How to clean the footprint of a tent Use a clean (preferably brand new) cloth to wipe away any filth, followed by a simple rinse with water.
The best method for cleaning considerable amounts of mud that has become adhered to the footprint would be to scrub it away with a scourer, taking care not to be too harsh.
Check out ourgreat range of tent footprintsto make your camping trip that little bit smoother.
Take a look at our whole assortment of tent accessories or our entire tents collection, which includes: Tents by Size|Family Tents|Polycotton Tents|Tents by Brand Check out more articles from the Winfields Blog to get you ready for 2020. Remember to check out our camping blog for more articles like this. This year’s top ten best family camping tents include an inflatable tent. Buying an Air Tent: A Buyer’s Guide
Do You Need a Tent Footprint for Backpacking?
You’ve invested in a tent with a water-resistant floor. Is it necessary to purchase a tent footprint or a groundsheet in addition to the tent? How sturdy and waterproof your tent floor is, as well as what the surface conditions are like where you want to use it, are all factors that must be considered. If you want to make a decision, you’ll need to understand how the thickness of your tent floor and the waterproof rating of your tent will affect its overall longevity. The choice of a camping spot is also an essential consideration.
What is a Tent Footprint?
It is important to understand that a tent footprint is a piece of protective fabric or material that you place under your tent to act as a moisture barrier while also protecting your tent floor from abrasion and punctures. Abrasion occurs on the bottom of your tent every time you pitch it due to the grit, small rocks, sand, and twigs that build on previously used tent sites. This weakens the fabric, which might result in a hole or puncture that allows water to seep past the waterproof layer of your tent floor and into the inside.
The majority of tent footprints are designed to correspond to the floor measurements of a certain tent.
In the event that your tent floor has a hole or has deteriorated seam tape, the puddle may soak through the fabric or seep inside the tent.
Tent Floor Durability and Waterproofing
A denier count and a waterproofing meter are frequently included in the specifications of backpacking tents. The denier count of a tent’s floor fabric refers to the thickness of the threads that make up the fabric, and it is a good indicator of the tent’s overall durability. Consider the following example: The floor of a tent that has a “70D,” or “70 denier,” construction, such as theREI Half Dome 2 Plus, will be harder and more durable than the 15 denier floor of the ultralightNEMO Hornet 2.
- For example, a tent floor with a waterproof rating of 5000 mm, such as the Hilleberg Niak, is far more waterproof than a tent floor with a waterproof rating of 1200 mm, such as theNEMO Hornet 2, which is substantially less waterproof.
- It may be used to evaluate the waterproofness of different tent flooring against one another.
- While they do not specify whether or not it is waterproof, it is unquestionably more durable than the 15 denier floor that came with the tent in question.
- It is also important to evaluate the nature and character of the campgrounds where you intend to set up your tent, as well as whether the usage of a footprint is appropriate in that particular setting.
The soil in pre-existing tent sites and established campsites is frequently sandy and abrasive, making it difficult to create a healthy garden.
Your camping location will determine whether you require a tent footprint or not. A good example is how many pre-existing campsites have been “dished out” and have formed an indentation in the ground where many people have previously stayed. Gravel, grit, sand, and water gather in these dished-out regions, and if you camp on them on a regular basis, they will wear down the bottom of your tent. If you only camp once or twice a year, the damage on your tent floor will be less significant. However, if you have to camp in campgrounds or established campsites and your floor is thinner and less waterproof, using a footprint may be a better option.
A footprint is not required if you are camping on an earthy mossy forest floor that is well-drained and non-abrasive, as long as you remove any sticks and pine cones from the area before you set up camp.
I am aware that my degree of care would rise if I were to use a tent with a floor made of less than 20 denier and a waterproof rating of less than 1500 mm.
Cost and Weight of Tent Footprints
In addition to being expensive and heavy, tent footprints may be difficult to transport, which can be discouraging when you’ve invested a lot of effort and money in purchasing a lightweight tent. Spending an additional $50 for a basic piece of low-cost cloth seems like a rip-off to me, especially considering the additional weight and work necessary to transport it, as well as the additional time and effort required to clean and dry it between uses. In order to demonstrate what I mean, below is a review of various popular tent styles, followed by a comparison of the weights of the footprints sold by their respective makers.
|Make / Model||Tent Weight||Test Cost||Footprint Weight||Footprint Cost|
|Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL 1||2 lbs 2 oz||$380||4 oz||$60|
|MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2||3 lbs 8 oz||$450||7 oz||$35|
|NEMO Hornet 1||1 lb 10 oz||$330||5.3 oz||$40|
|REI Quarter Dome SL 2||2 lbs 8 oz||$349||6.4 oz||$55|
|REI Flash Air 2||1 lb 15 oz||$299||5.4 oz||$55|
|REI Flash Air 1||1 lb 4 oz||$249||3.5 oz||$45|
Alternative and Lower Cost Tent Footprints
When I travel with a footprint, I pack a piece of extremely lightweight plastic sheeting that weighs between 1 and 2 ounces, depending on the size of the tent I’m using as a footprint. For this reason, Gossamer Gear provides something calledPolycryo Groundcloths, which I’ve been using for several years. Despite this, whether used on sandy soil or gravel, the material is strong and will not shred or wear out. You may utilize it over and over again, and it requires no more maintenance. a cut-to-size Gossamer Gear Polycryo Plastic Sheet — the tent rainfly conceals the plastic sheet that is visible, preventing water from pooling on top of it.
- Depending on how frequently you use it, a single piece will last for one season or perhaps longer.
- Both are inexpensive and may be split into several groundsheets for a single price of less than $10.
- Despite the fact that it is lightweight, waterproof, and puncture-resistant, it is significantly heavier than Polycryo or Window Wrap.
- Its most significant benefit is that it is indestructible.
- We may (but not always) get a small portion of any sales made using the links provided above.
Although the cost of the product remains the same for you, your purchase allows us to continue to test and create unsponsored and independent gear evaluations, beginning FAQs, and free hiking guides for you. Thank you for your assistance, and please know that we appreciate it!
What Is A Tent Footprint & Do You Need One?
For the uninitiated, a tent footprintor (tent ground cover) is a big piece of impermeable fabric that may be placed beneath your tent to keep it from getting wet. One of the primary functions of the tent floor is to act as a barrier between the tent floors and the forest floor, providing additional protection against abrasion caused by rough or rocky terrain. Most footprints have the appearance of basic tarps, and they are typically composed of the same synthetic, waterproof materials as these tarps.
Should I Buy The Tent Footprint Sold By The Manufacturer Of My Tent?
In a nutshell, the answer is probably no. Branded tent tarp sheets are typically pricey and don’t provide much—if anything—in the way of additional functionality above a standard tarp that can be purchased from a hardware or outdoor store for as low as a fourth of the cost. In addition, creating your own tent footprint is a rather simple process. All you have to do is measure the dimensions of your tent floor and then walk down to the store to have the tarp material cut to the exact measurements you specified.
You won’t have to be concerned about rain runoff pooling on the footprint and rolling beneath the tent floor.
All of these materials can be obtained at a significantly lower cost than branded footprints and, in most cases, will not fall significantly short in terms of performance as branded footprints.
Tent Footprint vs Tarp – Do I Need A Tent Footprint?
These days, the great majority of tents on the market have bathtub-style floors made of reinforced, very waterproof fabrics (often silnylon), which provide excellent protection against abrasion and leakage. Having said that, there are a variety of reasons why using a footprint to protect your tent’s flooring is a smart idea in some situations. First and foremost, using a footprint can help you extend the life of your tent by reducing the amount of wear and tear on your tent floor as well as providing additional protection against potentially corrosive elements such as sand, grit, animal feces, and tree sap that can accumulate.
Finally, a footprint might serve as an additional layer of security against leakage.
The disadvantage of utilizing a footprint is that it requires you to carry extra weight.
What is the solution?
How To Use A Tent Footprint
In order to use a tent footprint or groundsheet, all you have to do is lay the footprint out on your selected camping site, pitch your tent on top of it, then tuck any extra material beneath the tent floor to prevent any rainfall or condensation from accumulating on the “fringe” of the footprint.
Do I need a tent footprint?
When you join up for Outside+ today, you’ll receive a $50 discount off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you’ll discover a variety of brand-name goods handpicked by our gear editors. Lots of uncertainty exists around the proper usage of a tent footprint (does it keep out water?). Is it for the purpose of insulation?). However, here at the Gear Brain Trust, we have the ability to clear things up. A tent footprint or ground cover is simply anything that serves to protect the tent’s floor from abrasion.
- With a footprint in place, it is forced to bear the brunt of the assault.
- Footprint No.
- We used to pitch tents without leaving footprints all the time, and I don’t recall anything negative happening as a result of that.
- Although it is ineffective on uneven, rocky ground, pitching the tent in the shade and staking it out securely to prevent it from thrashing around is an effective technique to safeguard your investment.
- It is OK to use a handmade version.
- The key is to ensure that the footprint is cut such that it is slightly smaller in size than the tent floor.
- Then any rain that does fall will become caught on the footprint and will roll beneath the tent.
Guide to Tent Footprints
A tent footprint, which is also known as a ground cloth or a groundsheet, is a waterproof sheet that is placed between the floor of your tent and the ground of the surrounding forest. They are intended to avoid wear and tear on the tent’s floor – a tent footprint will prevent (or at least mitigate) any scratching or punctures produced by sand, sticks, or stones when the tent is pitched on rough, gritty terrain. These items can also assist you with a variety of additional tasks like as preventing water from leaking into your tent, cushioning the ground, insulating the floor, and keeping your tent clean.
The first thing you should do before erecting your tent is to lay down a groundsheet. Let’s get started. myoutdoorslife.com
Why do I need a Tent Footprint?
Tents should be protected for the rest of their lives. It goes without saying that the most important and most common function of a footprint is to protect the floor of your tent. It is likely that the floor of your tent will be subjected to a great deal of damage – imagine your body weight tossing and turning in your sleep as you grind the floor of your tent into rocky ground. You can easily wear out and damage the cloth as a result of this operation. If the tent floor is not properly covered, it will decay much more quickly than the rest of the tent.
- Tents are costly, and I want to make the most of mine by extending its lifespan as much as possible.
- The addition of a second layer of a footprint will prevent rain from seeping into your tent and soaking your sleeping bag, clothing, and other personal belongings in the process.
- Your groundcloth will absorb a significant amount of the dirt and moisture, avoiding the growth of mold and mildew in your tent.
- Cushioning and insulation are included.
- Your body, on the other hand, will absorb and feel whatever temperature the earth is at the time.
- A tent footprint, on the other hand, may give a smidgeon of additional insulation from the ground as well as a smidgeon of additional cushion, which is very useful if you are trying to make it lightweight and reduce every ounce.
- It might be challenging to locate a suitable tent location.
- Because of the small size of a footprint, it is quite simple to lay it out on the ground and determine the size of your property.
- Painter’s Tarp (on the left) and Tyvek (on the right) (right)
What are the best Footprints?
Most of the nicest tent footprints, particularly for lightweight trekking or hiking, are made by the camper himself. Those manufacturer alternatives that were expressly developed for your tent, in my (modest) view, are subpar. Because they come with clips and buckles to attach to your tent, they tend to be on the pricier side (some are more than $50), and because they are excessively hefty because of this.
We’re back to the do-it-yourself possibilities. The majority of ultralight backpackers rely on one of these. All of them are quite inexpensive and lightweight.
- Sheets of Painter’s Tarp (or polycro). My personal fave. I use a 2 mm thick sheet, which is a terrific option because it just weights a few grams and is small enough to put in my pocket while still being effective. “Tyvek” is available for $2 at your local hardware shop. A brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers that are frequently used to protect structures while they are being built. Among the other alternatives are “shrink” polymers, which are used to seal windows and doors during the winter months.
Don’t be concerned about attachments; the weight of your body will keep it firmly in place beneath the surface. You can place your gear (or a hefty rock) on top of your tent if you are in strong winds and are concerned that it will be blown away if you are not inside the tent.
How to Make Your Own DIY Footprint
Obtaining the Materials: Tent footprint material, a sharpie marker, and scissors Step 1: Go to a hardware shop or look online for the materials you want to use. Just make sure it’s larger than the size of the floor of your tent before starting. Consider the following example: a one-person tent may be 7 feet long and 3 feet broad. Second, lay the tarp down flat on the ground and place your tent on top of it to protect your belongings. The third step is to use a sharpie to trace the floor of your tent.
- Caution should be exercised to avoid getting sharpie on the tent!
- The goal here is to have your tent footprint be somewhat smaller than the floor of your actual tent on all sides.
- Stoveless BackpackingMeals
What is a tent footprint? (And why you need one!)
What is the definition of a tent footprint? (Image courtesy of Getty) What is the definition of a tent footprint? Without wasting any time, let’s get right to it: of all the accessories you might potentially add to your camping and backpacking gear, few, if any, will provide a return on your investment as amazing as the modest tent footprint. A tent footprint is a low-cost, lightweight piece of equipment that may significantly improve your camping experience in a variety of ways. However, it is rarely given the recognition it deserves because our tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, among other items, take up most of the attention.
- In essence, a tent footprint is just a layer of fabric that is placed beneath your tent to give additional weather protection and thermal insulation.
- In the case of certain tents, a footprint is included in the purchase price; but, in the majority of situations, you will need to make an additional purchase to obtain one.
- Jack Wolfskin is a writer and editor who lives in New York City.
- We’ve found that few campgrounds are nearly as smooth and lawn-like as we’d like.
- For the most part, tent footprints “take one (or many, rather) for the team” by adding an additional layer of protection between your tent and the ground – something that even the best tents require while camping in rough terrain.
- They increase the amount of waterproofing they use.
- This is due to the fact that the weight of the tent’s occupants and their gear increases the amount of water pressure imposed on the fabric when it is wet.
), this isn’t enough to prevent water from seeping through the groundsheet and into the tent.
When camping in the rain, a footprint comes in very helpful (Image credit: Getty) They help to increase insulation.
This problem can be greatly mitigated by including a footprint in your tent setup.
It may even eliminate the need for a sleeping pad altogether, saving you money.
When traveling in inclement weather, decamping at the conclusion of a journey is never a particularly pleasant experience.
A tent footprint, on the other hand, may spare you from all of that trouble by serving as a “first line of defense” that keeps the rest of your tent clean as well.
Do you want to camp in colder weather?
Even while many tent manufacturers create their own, tailored tent footprints to match the majority of the tent types in their range, the cost of doing so might be prohibitively expensive.
It’s simple to make a DIY footprint.
Kieran Cunningham is the Editor in Chief of Advnture.
Mountaineering in the Himalayas, the Alps, and the United States have been highlights of his life.
In his spare time, he climbs when he should be writing, writes when he should be sleeping, and generally has a good time.
Kieran is the author of ‘Climbing the Walls,’ a book that explores the mental health advantages of climbing, mountaineering, and being in the great outdoors, among other things. [email protected]
Tent Footprint: What It Is and Why You Need One
Modern, high-quality tents are not inexpensive, especially when it comes to lightweight options appropriate for hiking. However, here’s why you should spend a few additional bucks on another piece of equipment – a tent footprint. We require shelter as humans, and the process of selecting, acquiring, and setting up a suitable shelter demands an investment of both time and money — as well as, perhaps most crucially, knowledge on how to do so. Knowledge on whether you need a footprint, how to select the right footprint for your tent and intended use, and how to keep all of this equipment in good condition are all important.
We hope that this page will provide comprehensive answers to any queries you may have concerning tent footprints.
What Is a Tent Footprint?
Essentially, a tent footprint is a lightweight piece of material that is about equal in size and form to the floor of your tent’s main structure. Consider a tarp as an example. These are normally produced from the same material as your tent, but with a somewhat greater denier count than the tent itself. The denier count of a fabric refers to the thickness of the threads that make up the fabric. More abrasion-resistant and durable a material is, the greater the denier count of the material used in its production.
Tent footprints that are designed particularly for a specific tent type will attach to the tent’s body, which will aid in keeping the footprint in place while the tent is in use.
What Is a Tent Footprint Used For?
Josh Larios is a writer and musician from Los Angeles, California, who lives and works in Los Angeles, California, and is a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. ” data-descr=”” data-alt=”tent footprint”> ” data-descr=”” data-alt=”tent footprint”> Josh Larios is the photographer that took this photograph. Tent footprints are used to protect your tent’s floor from making direct touch with the ground when camping. Some of the most luxurious tents available on the market today weigh less than a pound.
The use of a tent footprint will reduce the likelihood of abrasive pebbles or sticks on the ground ripping or damaging the body of your tent body.
The fabric underneath you will be crushed into the ground by every movement you make while sleeping in a tent while sleeping on the ground. Whenever this occurs, the tent footprint is there to protect your tent from the abrasion, so your tent doesn’t have to.
Why Should I Buy One?
Tent footprints have the potential to significantly increase the life of your tent. Purchasing a new backpacking tent is an expensive proposition, and repairing a tent footprint is far less expensive than purchasing an entirely new tent. You can get away with not having a tent footprint, strictly speaking. The majority of tents are already built of waterproof materials, and a tent footprint isn’t actually designed for waterproofing in the first place. Although it is not required to do so, it is recommended that you use a tent footprint since your tent will wear out more rapidly if it is used frequently.
Other inventive uses for a tent footprint include the following:
- A clear area on which to arrange equipment
- A fantastic climbing tarp made of rope
- For open bivvies (when putting up a tent isn’t essential), this ground tarp is ideal. A play surface or a designated place for little campers
- The use of a protective surface when sleeping beneath the stars
- A shelter to provide protection from the rain or the sun
- There are several additional applications.
Loonyhiker” data-descr=”” data-alt=”setting up tent”> Loonyhiker” data-descr=”” data-alt=”setting up tent”> Photo courtesy of loonyhiker
Is a Tent Footprint Worth Buying?
This is ultimately determined by your requirements and financial constraints. We do, however, recommend that you purchase a tent footprint. It is a highly efficient method of significantly extending the life of your tent. The ideal option is to invest in a high-quality tent footprint that is designed particularly for your tent type. Alternatively, if the tent you already or want to purchase does not come with a carry bag, investigate whether the manufacturer offers one separately. If you’re on a tight budget and a name-brand footprint is just out of reach (footprints may cost anywhere from $30 to $80), you can make your own tent footprint out of plastic tarp or Tyvek wrap (which costs between $3 and $15).
Simply cut the cloth of your choosing to the proportions of your tent floor, and you’ll have a low-cost tent footprint in no time!
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Tent Footprints: The Reasons You Really Need One
This page contains information about tent camping tips. Tent Footprints: The Reasons Why You Should Consider Using One Learn why and why a tent footprint is required, how to use it, and most importantly, how to select the proper sized groundsheet for your specific tent in this article. Read on!
When and why are tent footprints necessary?
Almost all of us forget that our tents are simply sheets of some form of polymer that have to withstand a great deal during the course of their useful life. Moisture, UV rays (does your tent have UV protection? ), water, fire (sometimes), mold, condensation– the list is endless. Nevertheless, everything said above is something that you can notice and act on right now. The difficulty arises when the damage is done to portions of the tent that are rarely seen, such as the underside of the floor of the tent.
Gritty soils, sand, and rocky terrain, on the other hand, are the most perilous of all.
The use of a tent footprint is recommended while camping on a gritty, abrasive, or rocky terrain. This will help to prevent the tent floor from incurring irreversible damage such as the following:
- Deterioration of the waterproof covering (for example, when it comes into contact with sand)
- And When the tent is not securely anchored and the floor is sliding over steep terrain, rips are quite likely to develop. Mold development occurs when a tent is left on moist ground for an extended period of time.
Even though the primary function of the footprint is to protect against abrasion, it can also be used to further waterproof the tent floor if it is installed correctly. However dense the footprint material is, it should never be used for the purpose of providing additional insulation because it has virtually no insulation capabilities. Learn more about tent insulation for use during the colder months. It appears that with the introduction of more expensive tents and the resulting need to protect their investment, people have begun to use them when camping for the first time.
When deciding whether or not you really need a tent footprint, it’s important to understand the other factors to consider (which are explained in greater detail further down in the article): the durability rating of the tent fabric and the waterproofing rating.
What are tent footprints and how do they work?
Essentially, a tent footprint (also known as a groundsheet) is a sheet of extremely resistant fabric, most typically made of polyester or nylon, that is placed below a camping tent’s floor to protect it from rips, wear, and tears when camping on unlevel or uneven terrain. When you step inside your tent, the floor will move/slide ever so little, and if the soil beneath the tent is hard enough, this might cause damage to the waterproofing layer or, even worse, a puncture in the tent’s waterproofing.
This is due to the fact that it is composed of a very resilient fabric that is capable of withstanding any form of abuse.
Because all of the sharp edges on the equipment will rub against the floor, the inside of the vehicle will often wear down faster than the outside.
Learn more about what more you can do to keep your tent in good condition.
How big should the tent footprint be?
It is preferable to get one that is approximately 2 inches smaller in circumference than the bottom of the tent. If it rains while you’re camping, you won’t have to be concerned about water seeping underneath the shelter and dampening the entire ground under you. Consider contacting the tent’s maker to see if they offer footprints for that specific model in order to make your life a little less complicated. The likelihood is that the majority of them will sell them, but you must be prepared to pay a premium for their services.
But, at the very least, you won’t have to be concerned about the sizes since you will be certain that they will fit flawlessly.
Important: If you purchase a universal footprint that is larger than the tent’s floor, do not cut the borders to make them match the size of the tent’s ground cloth. Those edges have been heavily stitched to provide additional reinforcement. Simply tucking them below will help to make it smaller.
Tent floor durability and waterproofing ratings
In today’s market, almost all of the tents that you may purchase should have a denier count listed somewhere on their specs page. It is the overall thickness of the threads that make up the cloth that is represented by the denier count (in our case, the floor of the tent which is usually thicker than the body). We may use this measurement to make an educated guess about the material’s long-term durability. In general, the greater the denier of a material, the more durable the material is going to be.
- If your tent floor material has a denier between 70 and 150, it is considered to be a very durable material, and in this case, using a tent footprint under normal camping conditions is not necessary.
- However, these sorts of tents are far more expensive, and for an additional $30 dollars, you can likely get a universal footprint that will provide further protection (better safe than sorry).
- A hydrostatic head measurement is what this is referred to as.
- The use of a tent footprint is required if the hydrostatic rating of your tent floor is only about 1200-2000mm, even if the soil appears to be dry.
Campsite selection determines the need for a footprint
The choice of a camping location might also influence whether or not you require a tent footprint. In the case of forest floor camping, you will very certainly find yourself pitching your tent on ground that is riddled with brambles, twigs, pebbles, roots poking out, and other such hazards. It may be vital to use a footprint in this situation if you want to be certain that you are not damage your tent. Also, even if you’re using a groundsheet, it’s a good idea to spend a few of minutes attempting to clear the ground before you start working.
The grass should be sufficient to serve as a footprint and protect the floor of your camper.
This is due to the fact that the ground where people used to sleep has changed into a “dish” over time.
Even the tiniest submerged space can have all of these characteristics, despite the fact that they are not apparent to the naked eye. You may use the table below to determine whether or not you’ll need a tent footprint based on the type of soil you’ll be camping on.
|Grassland||Not required||Not required|
The requirement of tent footprints is determined by the kind of terrain encountered.
Is it necessary to use a tent footprint when camping in the winter? The answer is dependent on the two sorts of circumstances that you are most likely to come across:
- Camping on snow – if this is the case, a tent footprint is not required as long as the amount of snow covering the ground is sufficiently deep
- Camping on frozen ground– In this situation, it is preferable to use a tent footprint rather than a groundsheet since moisture can accumulate below the tent and cause it to freeze fast. Frost may harm the waterproofing layer on a tent and, in extreme cases, it can freeze so hard that it causes the floor to tear as you’re raising the tent from the ground.
Is it necessary to leave a footprint when camping on the beach? A tent footprint is almost always required while camping on the beach, regardless of the season. This is due to the fact that sandy soil is the most abrasive of all the soil types (think sandblasting). Sand may cause damage to the tent floor in a variety of ways, but the most typical issue is that the tent floor will shift ever so slightly on top of it, which is comparable to rubbing it against sandpaper. The waterproofing layer will be completely gone in a short period of time.
Best universal tent footprints that you can buy
A universal groundsheet is the most cost-effective and simple option if your tent does not come with a footprint (which, in most cases, is sold as a pricey optional item by the manufacturer). You’ll discover the most cost-effective option farther down this page.
3. Marmot Ultralight
Despite the fact that the most of us are accustomed to hefty groundsheets, if you’re looking for something lighter, this would be the best option. People normally avoid using footprints since they add extra weight to their backpacks, which is something no one wants, especially if they’re camping. However, this device is lightweight and compact enough to be carried in any backpack. Really, if you want to do something, your weight isn’t an issue. The fabric is made of featherweight nylon. Sizes:This option is only available for 4 and 6 person tents.
It may be used just as a footprint for a specified size and no other purpose.
Waterproofing: It is waterproofed on both sides of the product.
2. ALPS Mountaineering
Despite the fact that the most of us are accustomed to hefty groundsheets, if you’re looking for something lightweight, this would be the best option. Many people choose not to use footprints simply because they add extra weight to their backpacks, which is something no one likes, especially if they are hiking. Although it is lightweight and tiny, this product is small enough to be carried in any bag. If you want to do something, your weight isn’t an issue. Nylon is used as the primary material.
It does not come with any reinforcements, which is disappointing.
Budget: $600 to $1,500.
Terra hiker universal footprint
The most of us are accustomed to hefty groundsheets, but if you’re looking for something lighter, this would be the best option. People normally avoid using footprints since they add extra weight to their backpacks, which is something no one wants, especially while hiking. However, this device is light and compact enough to be carried in any backpack without difficulty. If you decide to go for it, your weight will not be an issue. Nylon is used as the primary fabric. Sizes:This option is only available for tents that hold four or six people.
Multipurpose:No. It may be used only as a footprint for a given size alone. It does not come with any reinforcements. Waterproofing: It is waterproofed on both sides of the item. Price range: from $600 to $1,500 HighVendor: Make sure to check Amazon for availability.
DIY tent footprints and lower-cost alternatives
People have spent a lot of effort making their own groundsheets, stitching grommets, and trimming sheets of Tyvek or polypropylene to fit their tents, as I’ve observed while walking around town. The results are pleasing, but I have a concern about this: what if you decide to replace your tent? Most likely, you’ll have to start from the beginning. As a result, why not spare yourself some trouble and simply get some low-cost blue polypropylene? Make no effort to trim it to the proper size; if it’s too large, simply fold it below your tent to make it smaller.
How to correctly set up a tent footprint
Time required: ten minutes. How to properly erect a tent’s ground footprint
- Choose a location for the tent and the groundsheet to be installed. First and foremost, you must position the groundsheet precisely where you want the tent to be. Find out which side of the goods is waterproof by looking at the label. Most of the time, the shiny side (coated) will be facing up (facing the tent), and the dull side (uncoated) should be facing down (facing the ground). Prepare the tent by putting it up on the ground. Begin erecting the tent on top of it by placing the tent poles into the grommets in the footprints. Some may have straps connected to them in order to attain a more secure fit
- Check to see if yours does. Check to see if the installation was done correctly. Ensure that the sheet does not protrude from the wall, and if it does not, you’re done.
In the event that you have one that you created yourself, you can simply place it below and everything will be great. Just make sure you set your tent on level ground or you may end yourself falling off.
Frequently asked questions
Is it possible to utilize a tent footprint as a tarp? It is possible to use a tarp with multifunctional footprints such as Redcamp or Terra Hiker without making any adjustments to the footprint. If the product is intended to be used exclusively as a groundsheet, you’ll most likely need to hunt for a more appropriate tarp to replace it. The bulk of footprints are narrow because they were intended to be somewhat smaller in size than the tent’s ground surface. These proportions may not be suitable for a tarp of similar size.
What should the thickness of a footprint be?
Lightweight variants have a thickness of only 0.5 millimeters, whereas heavy-duty ones have a thickness of 1.8 millimeters (see illustration).
All of the tent footprints have at least one side that is waterproofed, if not all of them.
In most cases, if you go with the one that the manufacturer recommends, you’ll end up with a footprint that has the same Hydrostatic Head rating as the tent.
Although their primary function is to guard against abrasion, using one will increase the waterproofing value by a factor of two, which is not a bad idea when you consider that the more pressure you apply to a tent’s floor, the more it loses its ability to withstand water.
You must wash the footprint with cold water and a sponge when it has dried.
Never wash your clothes in the washing machine since it might shred your footprint.
If you don’t have a specialized cleaning product on hand, soak the footprint in WARM water for an hour or two before beginning to remove the dirt from it.
Don’t leave it out in the direct sunshine.
Is there any insulation provided by groundsheets?
In this case, space blankets or insulated footprints might be utilized to keep the space cool.
A glossy side (which should be coated for waterproofing purposes) and a dull side (which should not have any coating at all) are common characteristics of footprints.
So that the waterproofing layer does not become destroyed, this is done.
Any dirt that is left behind will scrape the coating, since the tent will always slide a little bit over the groundsheet when it is being used.
Painter’s Tarp Sheets are also known as painter’s tarps, and while they are far lighter in weight than your typical footprint, I would not advocate utilizing them on a regular basis.
Is it necessary to tie the footprint to the tent?
However, as we all know, we are often forced to use a universal sheet, which will never be the precise size of the tent we are setting up.
With the exception of those who are camping on a steep slope where there is a possibility of the tent sliding down the valley, you should be alright without securing the pole to the tent’s bottom.
The primary functions of any footprints, whether purchased or made by hand, are to protect the more expensive tent from difficult terrain, to keep water away from the tent floor, and to assist in keeping the tent clean when it is muddy. As a result, even if the durability of your tent is sufficient to avoid the need for a footprint, it is recommended that you purchase one. Because the cost of a universal footprint is so minimal, it’s always a good idea to invest in one. In the event that your budget does not allow for it, even a simple DIY groundsheet may work miracles, and you can construct one for as little as $10.